Life

Harald Nugiseks was born in Vanaõue farm in Karjaküla village, Särevere, Järva County in the middle of Estonia. The former "Eesti Sõna" (Estonian Word) described the road to Vanaõue in the following way: "The albescent highway ribbon weaves between the blossoming fields, disappearing from time to time in the shadows of blue forests, and then continues meandering past blossoming shamrock fields and meadows and the farms that are sinking in greenness. The wavy landscape of South Järva County opens new views after every turn of the road and behind every single coppice…A nd when the river that sometimes winds next to the highway every now and then shows its smooth as glass face that is framed by alders, you know you are in Karjaküla (village)."

Already the name of the farm gives a hint of its ancientness. Harald, his brother Avelinus and sister Linda were the eleventh generation of Nugiseks who lived in the 70-acre farm that had 30-acres of farmland. The people of Vanaõue had planted their roots so deep into the ground and through that learned to love the land, work and farm, the same way as happened to another man from Järva County – Vargamäe Andres, whom the whole Estonia knows through written word by writer Anton Hansen Tammsaare.

At the beginning of the previous century the landlord's right had reached August Nugiseks and his wife Kata. The kids were born right after each other. First the daughter Linda, then the son Avelinius and right after the First World War, on October 22, 1921, the family's youngest son Harald. And on that autumn day no one could predict what this boy will have to go through.

At first everything went according to its natural path, just like it was supposed to. The fields needed to be ploughed, the herd needed to be taken care of, the hay mowed with scythe and children had to go to school. And when the time was right, Harald received his first reading book and went to school on Saturdays. When the elementary school was finished, father had his own plans with his son in connection with the ancient Vanaõue farm and its future. The son was supposed to become an educated farmer and that was probably the reason why he was sent to Türi High School of Gardening near home.

Was it a twist of faith or simply a big coincidence: Harald's deskmate for two years in Türi school was none other but the future Soviet army's colonel Peeter Gross. It is unlikely that these two young men spoke of the war, even more unlikely that they spoke of the fact that one day they will be standing on either side of the front where the war's iron law is the only thing that matters.

Nevertheless, Harald did not finish the school in Türi and went to Paide Trade School in 1939 when the big war had already began and the world was starting to divide into two. The two horrific years – 1940 and 1941 – were fast approaching.